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Barclays launches robo-advice investment service

Written by: Emma Lunn
Barclays Plan & Invest will build a personalised investment plan tailored to your goals, then manage your investments for you.

This type of investment management is traditionally known as “discretionary portfolio management” and Barclays has partnered with Scalable Capital to launch the new service.

Plan & Invest is designed to support people who don’t have the time or confidence to invest on their own. It will initially be available to Barclays current account customers with a minimum of £5,000 to invest, and accessed via online banking.

The bank will continue to develop the service, with plans to launch on the Barclays app later this summer.

Plan & Invest will give customers access to the bank’s pick of both active and passive funds through a managed portfolio. Their investments will be chosen and managed by the bank’s team of investment experts, previously only accessible to clients with considerable sums to invest.

Unlike many robo-advice providers, Barclays will adapt the investment plan to any changes in the market or the customer’s circumstances and check-in with them at least once a year.

Checks will ensure the investments are still right for the customer and that they’re making the most of their tax allowances.

If anything needs to change, for example if they would benefit from moving their investments into an ISA, Barclays will take care of it.

The launch coincides with new research revealing that more than half of Brits (56%) feel that they don’t currently have access to the expert support they would need to start investing, with 71% believing they don’t have the skills or expertise to invest on their own.

Dirk Klee, CEO of wealth management and investments at Barclays, said: “Over the last few months, we’ve seen a rise in the number of people wanting to invest for the first time and it feels more important than ever that we give people the right tools and advice to plan for their financial future.

“We launched Plan & Invest after listening to our customers, who said they wanted an investment service that gave them the convenience and affordability of robo-advice, but with more of the personalisation of wealth management.”

“I firmly believe that everyone should have access to affordable advice and Plan & Invest is just the first step in our plans to open up the tools we use with our wealth clients to more people.”

How does Plan & Invest work?

Customers complete an in-depth questionnaire on their circumstances, what they want to achieve, investment timescales, and a personality assessment to assess how they respond to risk.

Barclays will then use technology to combine this information with their expert team’s pick of investments, to create a personalised plan that can follow more than 10,000 investment paths.

The plan will show customers how Barclays intend to invest their money, and how this will change over time or as they get closer to their goal. It will also show them how achievable their goal is and make sure that, where possible, they’re investing in a tax-efficient way by using an ISA.

If the investor decides to go ahead with the plan, Barclays will manage the customer’s investments for them – monitoring their performance, making “buy and sell” decisions on their behalf and spotting good market opportunities.

What will Plan & Invest cost?

It’s free for customers to create their initial personalised investment plan and they will only be charged once their accounts are set-up and their money has been invested.

Once a portfolio is set-up, Barclays will charge an ongoing annual fee of between 1.39 per cent and 1.59 per cent. This is charged based on the value of their investments and split into two types of costs: service costs and product costs.

The service cost is fixed at 0.95% (+ VAT) and covers planning, investing and safekeeping costs. The product costs cover ongoing fund management fees and transaction fees and will range between 0.25 and 0.45%, depending on which funds are chosen for a customer’s personalised investment plan.

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